Governor Jack Dalrymple was in Grand Forks yesterday to attend the grand opening and dedication of the University of North Dakota (UND) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Training Facility located on the Grand Forks Air Force Base. The event marked the official opening of one of the most advanced UAS training, education and research facilities in the world.
The training facility is an extension of UND’s UAS Center of Excellence (COE) that was established in 2006. The state provided more than $2.7 million in COE enhancement grants to fund the necessary remodeling of the building provided by the U.S. Air Force and the staffing of the facility. The grant also helped with the purchase of the Predator Mission Aircrew Training System (PMATS), a state-of-the-art UAS simulator used to train students. UND will be the first civilian operator of the PMAT system.
“North Dakota is on the forefront of cutting edge UAS research and development,” Dalrymple said. “With all the world class work that is being done at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, the UAS Center of Excellence and now the UAS Training Facility, North Dakota is expanding its global presence as a leader in UAS technology, commerce, research and training.”
The UND UAS Training Facility is the result of an agreement between UND and the U.S. Air Force to locate the facility at the base. Dalrymple attended a ceremony in February when the historic agreement was signed. The training facility can accommodate 24 students in the classroom area, with plans to expand to 30. The facility includes two simulator rooms, a library, and office and meeting space.
The UAS Center of Excellence performs research and development on UAS technologies and applications, and focuses on education and training for UAS integration into the national airspace system. The center also fosters the commercialization of new UAS-related products and services and promotes private-sector job growth within the state. Since its inception, the state has provided more than $6 million to fund the center and advance its research and development capabilities.
Source: office of Governor Dalrymple